Jorge Tabares: Composer In Residence

We are pleased and honored to have Jorge Tabares as the new Orchestra Composer in Residence for the new Accord Symphony Orchestra.

Tabares is a Spanish composer and pianist, born in Sagunto, Spain and began his musical career as a 3-year-old pianist.

To read about Tabares impressive history visit his about page:

Andrew Lee, Artistic Director

ANDREW M. LEE is the founder and artistic director of DC Strings Workshop, “DC Strings.” Over the past decade, Lee has performed across the United States in some of America’s greatest venues as a pianist, violinist, and conductor including the White House, George Washington’s Masonic Temple, and Carnegie Hall. He has also performed as a violinist with the Colour of Music Festival in Charleston, SC and Ray Chew’s “Night of Inspiration” at Carnegie Hall; where he collaborated with world-class musicians and gospel artists including Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, Dionne Warwick, and Shirley Caesar. Most recently he performed at The Kennedy Center with artist Michael W. Smith in a 2019 Independence Day-themed concert. Additionally, he has performed on tour with Conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Colour of Music Festival. 

After several years performing in DC area orchestras, Lee began DC Strings Workshop in December 2016. The mission of DC Strings is simple, to bring music to all parts of DC and highlight the beautiful diversity that exists in classical music. DC Strings realizes that mission to share and present music to underserved areas of the region through a mix of performance, education and dynamic masterclasses and workshops. Andrew was proud to be recognized in 2018 as a Lumos Fellow, where he received additional mentorship from nationally renowned musicians and arts administrators. The mission of Turn the Spotlight, which sponsors the fellowship is to identify, nurture, and empower leaders – and in turn, to illuminate the path to a more equitable future in the arts.

As an arts administrator, Lee has served as Personnel and Operations Manager for the Colour of Music Festival. In this role he was responsible for hiring more than +80 orchestral musicians and leading all aspects of logistics and planning for a series of concerts, performances and events. Lee also has served as music coordinator for the Gateways Music Festival in Rochester, NY. Since 2018, Andrew has served as an Orchestral Liaison to the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble of leading African-American and Latino musicians from around the world for the famed Sphinx Competition.

Andrew has served as a panelists for several city and state grant organizations including the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and the Maryland States Arts Commission.

As an orchestral musician, Andrew has collaborated with conductors such as Keith Lockhart, Leslie B. Dunner, Rodrick Cox, Angel Gil-Ordonez, Ray Chew, and Jeri Lynn Johnson, and has performed in halls such as The Masonic Temple, Carnegie Music Hall, The Apollo, The White House, and twice in Carnegie Hall.

Engaged in the community, Andrew is a Trustee and serves as Vice-President of the Frederick Douglass Memorial & Historical Association which hosts several scholarships and programs to celebrate the legacy of the great abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass. He is proud to serve on the Junior Board of Washington Performing Arts, one of the most established and honored performing arts institutions in America. 

Ever passionate about education, Andrew has mentored, tutored and taught music, chess through Chess Challenge in DC and a host of other programs within DC Public & Charter Schools and community centers. 

In addition to Andrew’s passion and work in music he also has experience in politics and media. His work for clients has appeared on the covers of The Washington Post, New York Times, ABC News and countless national and local news outlets. For several years, Andrew provided political commentary on TV One’s NewsOne Now and other local news programs. His work in politics spans positions on Capitol Hill for several Members of Congress and political campaigns and corporate communications work. 

Andrew was a double major in music and political science from Furman University (‘09) and has pursued graduate studies at The University of Maryland. He has also completed studies in conducting under the tutelage of Anthony Maiello and piano with Jose Ramos Santana.

Andrew is a proud member of The National Music Teachers Association.

Conductor & Music Director: Dr. Juan Gallastegui

Dr. Juan Gallastegui is the Conductor & Music Director of DC Strings Orchestra (Washington, DC), Music Director of the Rockville Concert Band (Rockville, MD), Music Director of the Prince William Youth Orchestra (Woodbridge, VA) and Director of Bands at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington D.C. He has conducted the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra (Ashburn, VA), the  Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Greater Washington D.C.

Gallastegui holds a Ph.D. in Music History (University of La Rioja), a Master in Music in Orchestral Conducting (Bard College, NY), and a Master in Education (University of Cantabria). Previously, he earned a B.A. in Musicology (University of La Rioja, Spain) and a double B.M in Tuba Performance and Pedagogy of Tuba (Navarre Conservatory). Among other awards, Dr. Gallastegui was a “Rafael Del Pino Foundation” Scholarship Recipient in 2014. His main conducting teacher and mentor was the late Harold Farberman. Other teachers include Jorma Panula, Lawrence Golan, Mark Gibson, and Leon Botstein, and Dr. Laurence Wallach and Dr. Kyle Blaha in composition.

Dr. Juan Gallastegui was appointed Music Director & Conductor of DC Strings Orchestra in September 2020. His appointment was covered in local, regional and national press publications including Opera Wire and his native Spain. Dr. Juan led DC Strings Orchestra in its 5th Season Opening Concert at Harbour Square in SW DC and most recently the Messiah Holiday Concert in December 2020.

2020 DC Strings Orchestra Announces Appointment of Dr. Juan A. Gallastegui as Conductor & Music Director

Media Contact: Jane Goey; 

Dr. Juan A. Gallastegui, conducts the DC Strings Orchestra 5th Season OpenerHarbour Square, SW DC - Saturday, September 26, 2020Photography: Imagine Photography DC

Dr. Juan A. Gallastegui, conducts the DC Strings Orchestra 5th Season Opener

Harbour Square, SW DC – Saturday, September 26, 2020

Photography: Imagine Photography DC

2020 DC Strings Orchestra Announces Appointment of Dr. Juan A. Gallastegui as Conductor & Music Director

Orchestra Kicks Off 5th Season With A Physically Distanced Performance in Southwest DC

Washington, DC, (October 8, 2020)— DC Strings Orchestra a program of DC Strings Workshop announces the appointment of DC-region musical conductor Dr. Juan A. Gallastegui to lead the DC Strings Orchestra. Embarking on its 5th Season, the orchestra has performed 40 concerts to the joy of audiences throughout the region since its founding in 2016. Performance highlights include the orchestra making its Kennedy Center debut as part of the opening of the REACH festival in September 2019, partnerships with The National Park Service and dozens of Messiah and holiday performances in Anacostia and Capitol Hill neighborhoods.

“I am absolutely thrilled to join the DC Strings Orchestra family and thank the leadership and musicians for the trust they have placed in me,” said Dr. Juan A. Gallastegui, Music Director & Conductor of DC Strings Orchestra. “I look forward to working with these talented musicians to reach new communities and build the next generation of young musicians.”

“Dr.  Juan is a longtime friend of DC Strings and we are humbled by his deep commitment to music-making and rapport with the musician,” said Andrew M. Lee, Artistic/Executive Director of DC Strings Workshop. “As our country battles the pandemic, we will look to Dr. Juan to help our musicians connect with the community and other musicians to inspire, hope, and heal from the pain that is affecting so many members of our community.”

ABOUT DC STRINGS WORKSHOPDC Strings Workshop (DC Strings) hosts a dynamic and versatile orchestra, “DC Strings” consisting of musicians committed to bringing music to all areas of the DMV, particularly underserved communities. With a mission to celebrate and recognize the contributions of musicians, conductors, composers, women and people of color to the genre of classical music, the orchestra and various ensembles have presented over 50 concerts since the organization’s founding in 2016. Partnerships include collaborations with area music schools and other civic organizations to attract thousands of patrons in every quadrant of the city.

The orchestra made it’s debut at The Kennedy Center as part of the opening of THE REACH in September 2019, under the baton of Maesta Jeri Lynn Johnson. This past year DC Strings celebrated an annual tradition of presenting +7 of Handel’s beloved Messiah program throughout the city. Performances included in Anacostia, Capitol Hill, Tenleytown and numerous other civic venues in the region.

A Ward-8 based community non-profit organization, DC Strings takes pride in presenting meaningful and challenging orchestra works that rival the programming of large, fully professional orchestras. DC Strings Workshop offers a number of programs for youth, providing instruments, lessons and masterclasses for young people who want to learn how to master an instrument. 

Our members have performed at official National Park Service events, museums, churches, schools and corporate/civic events. Visit for more information or send us an email: – promotional images available upon request

People are upset when an orchestra closes. If only they went to the concerts.

There are a lot of other narratives about classical music that are more positive and that could use your support. In the Washington region, there’s the Fairfax Symphony, which would be a jewel in most midsize cities with its strong music director and range of interesting programs; or the Alexandria Symphony, energized by a new music director; or the New Orchestra of Washington, founded by millennials and now celebrating its fifth enterprising season; or D.C. Strings, a nonprofit devoted to bringing classical music to underserved communities.


This week, the National Philharmonic, an ambitious orchestra in Maryland, announced that it had run out of money and would close. As I have been covering the group since I came to Washington in 2008 — its founder and conductor, Piotr Gajewski, was one of the first arts leaders to reach out when I arrived — I naturally wrote about the news. That story has gotten lots of responses from readers — more, in fact, than anything else I’ve written this summer apart from news about the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and its ongoing lockout.

People get very agitated about orchestra closures. It signals, to some, the decline of society and all they hold dear. The assumptions come in thick and fast: intrepid and valuable small orchestra crushed by apathy, ignorance and philistine funding bodies that fail to pony up the donations.

You know what kind of news doesn’t interest people? News about orchestras doing well. Or, indeed, reviews of orchestras performing the music that embodies their mission. Thousands of people have already read about the National Philharmonic’s plight on our website. How many have read reviews of the National Philharmonic’s concerts in the past few years? A few hundred. Cumulatively.


Indeed, if one-tenth of the energy people expend on reacting to news such as this was expended on actually going to concerts and donating, orchestras might not be having these problems.

There is, in fact, a gap between what we, as individuals in our society, think we want and what we actually want. Take the outcry in the early 2000s when the New York radio station WNYC announced that it would no longer be a classical station but would switch to news and talk. The music world was promptly up in arms. The station, however, pointed out that every morning, when the news ended at 9:05 a.m. and the music began playing, there was an immediate drop in listeners. And some of the people who were most vocal in their protests, it turned out, weren’t regular listeners.

In short, some of these institutions are things we think are nice to have. We just don’t happen to use them ourselves. And neither, it turns out, do enough others to keep them viable.


I often talk about the way the classical-music world tends to conflate institutions with the art form. When an orchestra closes, it’s seen as an assault on Beethoven and Brahms. By contrast, when a restaurant closes or a car company goes bankrupt, people may bitterly bemoan it, but they don’t see it as a threat to food, nor do they think that cars are endangered. These things are part of the ecosystem: Beloved old stores close, new ones move in, some factories stop making things we’ve grown to rely on, some start cranking out cheap junk. Change isn’t always good, by any means, but it happens. Yet in classical music, there seems to be a belief that every single institution is worthy of preservation, even though the logical extension of this would be a landscape so littered with old institutions, shored up beyond their actual useful life, that there would be no room for anything new.

Oh, wait. That’s kind of what the classical-music world these days actually looks like.

The National Philharmonic was ambitious and intrepid. Gajewski has been a model of that much-hyped concept in our field: the musical entrepreneur. When the new hall at Strathmore was under construction, built as the second home of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he saw an opportunity to give a local orchestra a more important-sounding name and to establish it as a force in Montgomery County.


The National Philharmonic has always dreamed big and tried to run with the big guns when it comes to repertoire — Wagner’s “Rienzi,” Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” the Brahms Requiem, all supported by its in-house chorus. The group can look back on a proud track record. Yet it has been struggling financially for some time. And there is no clear villain in its downfall: Shrinking audiences, diminished government support, fewer newspaper reviews have all played a part. Some small organizations are able to surmount such obstacles. Others cannot.

I am not suggesting we shouldn’t mourn its demise. Yet it saddens me to see people — Washington Post readers, at least — showing so much more interest in this news than they showed in anything the orchestra did when it was healthy. It’s one more contribution to a narrative that classical music fans often take up about the art they love: No one appreciates us, pearls before swine, the decline of the West.

But that narrative is facile, even lazy. There are a lot of other narratives about classical music that are more positive and that could use your support. In the Washington region, there’s the Fairfax Symphony, which would be a jewel in most midsize cities with its strong music director and range of interesting programs; or the Alexandria Symphony, energized by a new music director; or the New Orchestra of Washington, founded by millennials and now celebrating its fifth enterprising season; or D.C. Strings, a nonprofit devoted to bringing classical music to underserved communities.

How about the production your local shoebox-opera organization has managed to mount on a shoestring? Or the new music ensemble that’s putting together a small concert series in an unexpected space in your neighborhood? These stories are happening, literally, all over the country. Let’s try focusing on the positives that we do have, where our interest can do some good, rather than waiting until another institution shutters to let the field know how very much we profess to care about it.

Beautiful Ballroom Garden Wedding in Washington DC

DC Strings Workshop was honored to provide the music for the beautiful ceremony of Elise & Dana, in March 2019. Check out the link and the beautiful photos

Bride & Groom: Elise & Dana
Occupations: Attorney
Wedding Date: March 16, 2019
Wedding Location: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC


How did you meet? On March 16, 2014, Elise and Dana both happened to attend a celebration on a friend’s rooftop. Elise was celebrating a friend’s completion of the Rock n Roll Half-Marathon, while Dana was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Elise arrived first, and after a couple of hours, Dana showed up and piqued Elise’s interest. Although she wanted him to approach her, while giving her best doe-eyed glances in his direction, he did not notice her.
Elise later reached out to her friend Dayo and asked to be set up on a date with the cute, tall guy from the rooftop. The arrangement Elise proposed was that if he set her up with Dana, she would set Dayo up with one of her friends in return. Dayo agreed to the deal and reached out to Dana, asking if he wanted to go out with Elise. While Dana did not remember Elise, he agreed to the semi-blind date after some light Instagram stalking.


Tell us about the proposal. Elise had been asking Dana to go ice skating for years. On a Saturday in January, Dana planned a date night that comprised of ice skating at the Wharf’s outdoor skating rink and dinner at Del Mar. Elise was ecstatic. Ironically, when she hit the ice she was very wobbly and held on to the wall the entire time because she was afraid of falling. Dana arranged for the ice to be cleared for maintenance when Elise was at the far side of the rink. This plan set up Elise to be the last person to get off the ice. Dana grabbed her hand and skated to the center of the rink and got down on one knee. A photographer captured the romantic setting and Elise’s surprised face. (They used this photo for the save-the-date.) It felt like a movie proposal because the audience watched and cheered. Afterward, they went to Del Mar to celebrate with a few friends.

Wedding Style: Hotel Monaco’s beautiful venue is adorned with ionic columns and a circular dome and we went for an Indoor Romantic Garden. Dana wore a custom tux from Suit Supply and Elise wore a white off the shoulder trumpet dress from Lovely Bride.

Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? We incorporated pictures of our family into the ceremony and it was important that the ceremony affirmed a modern take on equality, partnership, and love. We also jumped the broom!


Wedding party gifts: For the Maid of honor a basket of goodies made up of slippers, robe, Jasmine Gullilory’s book the Wedding Date, candles, and special body scrub by Sabon. For the Best Man a Cuban Cigar and an engraved flask.
Ceremony entrance song: “Fur Elise” by Beethoven
First dance song: A mash-up of “You’re All I Need to Get By” by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell, and “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” by Method Man and Mary J Blige.

What is your best memory from your wedding? Our ceremony was dreamy and the actual ceremony was very special. It was very important to us that our friends and family actually danced. DJAyescold delivered! We will forever remember when everyone swag surfed for the last song to Juvenile’s classic “Back that A#$% up”!

What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? Get a wedding planner! Anyvent Event Planning was amazing. We couldn’t do it without her. And, never assume that someone received your invitation.

Planner: Anyvent Event Planning
Venue: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC
Photographer: Eric Lee Photography
DJ: DJ Ayes Cold
Ceremony Musicians: DC Strings Workshop
Floral Designer: Flor de Casa Designs
Bridal Gown: Lovely Bride DC
Makeup: Phenomenal Faces (Jennifer Lee)
Hair: Kimistre INC (Kimberly Coleman)

Beautiful Ballroom Garden Wedding in Washington DC

(Washington Post) The Kennedy Center welcomes the birth of its new ‘living theater,’ The Reach

The Kennedy Center welcomes the birth of its new ‘living theater,’ The Reach


The Skylight Pavilion is one component of The Reach, a new multiuse complex at the Kennedy Center. (Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Story Link

By Angela Haupt

September 4 at 5:23 PM

When Deborah Rutter became president of the Kennedy Center in 2014, she asked her new colleagues to prepare a creative brief explaining why the institute was expanding for the first time in its nearly 50-year history. In response, she was handed a piece of paper filled with numbers: One room would be this size, another would be that size, another some other size.

“I thought, well, that’s great — now we know what the room sizes are,” recalls Rutter, who was tasked with overseeing the already-in-progress expansion when she joined the center after a decade as president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. “But why are we building this space?”

So she told the architects that their designs were lovely, but that she couldn’t approve anything until the center figured out its goals — effectively hitting pause on the project. Then she gathered 40 colleagues, mostly staffers who interacted with audiences by creating programs or educational activities, and asked: “What do we love about the center, what could we do better at the center, what do we need because we don’t have it now and what do we dream of in terms of what the future will be like?”

This weekend, the resulting vision comes to fruition: The Reach, a sprawling “living theater,” opens to the public on Saturday. The new venue includes three sleek, multiuse pavilions; underground classrooms and performance halls; an outdoor stage and video wall for concerts and film screenings; and a “green roof” with a gingko grove and grassy areas to relax. A pedestrian bridge over Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway connects visitors to the National Mall and other memorials, helping the somewhat secluded Kennedy Center “reach” the rest of the city.

To celebrate, the Kennedy Center is throwing a party: More than 1,000 artists will perform during a 16-day, jam-packed opening festival showcasing The Reach’s versatility. Big names like Thievery Corporation, De La Soul and Patton Oswalt are slated to perform, experts will teach DJing skills and beatboxing, and choreographer Debbie Allen will lead a National Dance Day celebration.

The festival, which kicks off Saturday, is an attention-grabbing introduction to a place Rutter hopes many will return to — even just to hang out. She describes The Reach as a home for “immersive, responsive artistic experiences,” a place that brings audiences and artists together. Imagine watching a ballet troupe rehearse in a glass-walled studio, for example, or listening to the National Symphony Orchestra fine-tune a new piece. Or catching a performance in a 150-seat theater, rather than one of the Kennedy Center’s massive halls. The new complex aims to deliver such intimate, behind-the-scenes experiences — as well as lectures, workshops, open-mic nights, parties and plenty of hands-on opportunities, like the arts camps scheduled to begin in 2020.

There are three studios at The Reach — J, F and K — that have floor-to-ceiling windows, so people passing by outside can observe rehearsals and other events occurring inside. On Oct. 7, The Reach’s first exhibition will open in Studio K, the largest of the three studios. “Portraits of Courage,” a collection of 66 paintings by former President George W. Bush, will be on view through Nov. 15, the first time the paintings will be displayed in the area. In January, the space will transform into the Club at Studio K, a funky lounge open on weekend evenings. The programming will be different each night: Visitors might catch two jazz shows on Friday, and a comedy or spoken-word performance on Saturday.

“It’s transformative,” Andrew Lee, artistic director of DC Strings Workshop, says of the new complex. “There’s a lot of upheaval in the industry right now, and this says we matter, we’re valued and that the Kennedy Center wants to work with us and organizations like us.” DC Strings, a nonprofit that aims to bring classical music to underserved communities, will perform during the opening festival on Wednesday. Lee is particularly excited about the opportunity to host workshops and other educational activities at The Reach, especially for communities “that often don’t get invited to the Center.” “I think The Reach is going to do a lot, to help stand in the gap and provide more clarity and vision on what students can achieve [artistically] in the District,” he says.

Rutter sees The Reach as a place where community members can interact with one another — and with the creative process. She imagines passersby popping into the coffee bar or cafe (which will serve cocktails in the evening), spending a few hours reading or working on their laptops. “There aren’t many places in this city where you can reliably be at a cafe table, and at the table next to you, there are artists who just came out of one of the studios,” she says. “I want it to be a space that’s comfortable for everybody. You don’t have to have a high-priced ticket or be dressed in a fancy outfit to come here. We want everyone to feel welcome.”

16 days of fun are within Reach

The Reach Opening Festival is the D.C. event of late summer — an impressive smorgasbord of comedy, dance, theater, music and family activities. The Kennedy Center is distributing free timed-entry tickets for the celebration, which runs from Saturday to Sept. 22, but many popular time slots are already unavailable. Still, center president Deborah Rutter encourages those who don’t secure tickets to come anyway: Extra passes will be available day-of depending on the number of no-shows. Having a ticket doesn’t guarantee entry to specific events, which are first-come, first-served. If you can’t get into a high-demand event, there’s still plenty to do. Pop into the Moonshot Studio for hands-on educational activities, for example, or take a turn playing the piano in River Pavilion, Rutter suggests. And mostly, she says, consider the festival an opportunity to try something new — like these four events:

NSO Chamber Group Open Rehearsal Wed., 10 a.m.-noon

During this two-hour rehearsal, a handful of National Symphony Orchestra musicians will pause every 20 minutes to answer audience questions. There’s no need to stay the entire time, the Kennedy Center notes.

Rap Improvisation Workshop with Freestyle Love Supreme Academy Sept. 12, 3-4:30 p.m.

Here’s a shortcut to winning your next rap battle: a workshop led by Freestyle Love Supreme Academy, which was co-founded by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Expect to review the theories behind hip-hop, spoken word, beatboxing, confidence and momentum.

Outside In with Hakim Bellamy Sept. 19, 5-7 p.m.

In this workshop, Hakim Bellamy, a former poet laureate of Albuquerque, N.M., will turn stories from incarcerated adults and juveniles into a performance narrative, while guiding participants through a writing exercise.

Master Class: Beychella Sat., 12:30-1:30 p.m.; Sept. 21, 12:30-1:15 p.m.; Sept. 22, 4-5:30 p.m.

You’ve practiced it in your living room. Now, become a fully trained diva as choreographer Iran “Bang” Paylor instructs attendees on the moves from Beyoncé’s history-making 2018 Coachella performance, as seen in “Homecoming” on Netflix.